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“Whatever [Alisa Weilerstein] plays sounds custom-composed for her, as if she has a natural affinity for everything.”—New York

Inon Barnatan is “a player of uncommon sensitivity”—The New Yorker

The music is all Czech, but the styles are dazzlingly diverse. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein—a 2011 MacArthur “Genius” fellow—is joined by members of the New York Philharmonic and its artist-in-association, pianist Inon Barnatan, for a Czech chamber concert. Beyond the influence of the country’s folk songs, discover Brahms’ and Vienna’s impact on Dvořák, and the jazz-tinged, cosmopolitan dance music of Schulhoff and Martinů.

Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Inon Barnatan, piano
Musicians from the New York Philharmonic

DVOŘÁK: Terzetto in C major for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74
MARTINŮ: La revue de cuisine ("The Kitchen Revue"), Suite for Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Violin, Cello, and Piano, H. 161*
SCHULHOFF: Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon
DVOŘÁK: Quartet for Piano and Strings in E-flat major, Op. 87

* Bring the young people in your life to see The Kitchen Revue set to dancing this season at a Family Music concert on Sun, Mar 29, 2015.

ALSO AVAILABLE: 10:30 am-1:30 pm New York Philharmonic Insights Immersion: The Many Worlds of Antonín Dvořák
Renowned musicians and scholars shed light on Dvořák’s life and works through lectures, discussions and performances. Presented by New York Philharmonic, in association with 92Y.


Subscribe and Save! This event can be purchased as part of the following subscription: Distinguished Artists—Series Subscription 2014/15. Learn about the benefits of subscribing.


This concert is co-presented with the New York Philharmonic as part of its Dohnányi/Dvořák festival.

Dvořák - Lasst mich Allein (excerpt)

Explore the Music

(Click the names below to expand info.)

DVOŘÁK: Terzetto in C major for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74


Born in Nelahozeves, near Kralupy, September 8, 1841; died in Prague, May 1, 1904
Terzetto in C major for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74
Composed in 1887; 20 minutes

The unusual instrumentation of Antonin Dvořák’s Terzetto in C major—a string quartet minus cello—is almost entirely without precedent in published works by major composers. Most pieces for this ensemble are intended as teaching works or transcription exercises, and a similar impulse was originally the case here as well. Dvořák wrote this Terzetto in a single week in January 1887 for the chemistry student and amateur violinist Joseph Kruis, who was renting a room in the composer’s house in Prague. Kruis studied violin with Jan Pelikan, a violinist with the National Theatre, and Dvořák undoubtedly planned to play the viola part himself. Unfortunately, the composer had overestimated Kruis’s abilities, and as a substitute work immediately wrote the simpler, four-movement Miniatures, Op. 75, which were subsequently arranged for violin and piano.

Although cast in four movements, this Terzetto doesn’t follow exactly the same four-movement format as a classical string quartet. Most notably, the opening movement is not in sonata-allegro form; it has a lyrical and wistful Introduction, interspersed with short passages of agitation, that moves through a series of halting harmonies directly into the second movement. The opening of the slow movement (Larghetto) then recalls the peaceful, long-breathed melodies of Beethoven and Schubert. With its leaping dotted rhythms, the brief middle section alludes to Baroque dance before a reprise of the serene opening theme.

For the Scherzo movement, Dvořák writes a furiant, one of the fiery Bohemian folk dances of which he was so fond. Accordingly, the lilting Trio section—still based on the furiant theme—resembles a dumka, the more thoughtful and reflective partner to a furiant in Bohemian dance pairs. The Terzetto concludes with an unexpectedly dramatic theme and variations. The shadowy theme in C minor leads into ten brief variations that explore an extraordinary variety of tempi and figurations. Only in the lively final variation does the harmony turn homeward to a vibrant C-major conclusion.

© 2014, Luke Howard

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MARTINŮ: La revue de cuisine (The Kitchen Revue), Suite for Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Violin, Cello and Piano, H. 161


Born in Polička, Bohemia, December 8, 1890; died in Liestal, Switzerland, August 28, 1959
La revue de cuisine (The Kitchen Revue), Suite for Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Violin, Cello and Piano, H. 161
Composed in 1927; 15 minutes

Alexander Tcherepnin once remarked that the music of his Czech friend Bohuslav Martinu˚ was “completely free from sauerkraut”— it avoided German-style formalism. Nowhere is this gastronomic metaphor more apt than for Martinu˚’s experimental ballet, La revue de cuisine, a whimsical portrayal of love and jealousy between kitchen utensils. Martinu˚’s earliest works date from World War I, after which he spent five years as a second violinist with the Czech Philharmonic before settling in Paris in 1923. During the 1920s, Martinu˚ befriended some of the leading Parisian cultural figures of the day, including Roussel, Stravinsky and the composers of Les Six. Although he drew on the same popular-music inspirations as these colleagues, Martinu˚ wasn’t as convinced of jazz’s relevance to European composers. He wrote in 1925: “I often think of the amazingly pregnant rhythm of our Slavonic folk songs … of their characteristic rhythmic instrumental accompaniments, and it seems to me that it is unnecessary to have recourse to the jazz band.” Still, he toyed with jazz several times during his Paris years.

La revue de cuisine, the third of Martinu˚’s “jazz” ballets, was completed in 1927, and it overtly embraces American jazz in its forms, melodies, harmonies, rhythms and especially its instrumentation: an idiosyncratic combination of violin, cello, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet and piano. An admirer of Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat, Martinu˚ worked with similar economy on this score, perhaps also responding to criticisms that his earlier ballets were too ambitious. La revue de cuisine became his first popular success.

In Jarmila Kroschlova’s eccentric scenario for La revue de cuisine, dancers play the parts of the various kitchen utensils. The marriage of Pot and Lid is threatened by the suave Stirring Stick, while Broom challenges Dishcloth to a duel. Pot and Lid are eventually reconciled, and Dishcloth elopes with Stirring Stick.

Both the Prologue and Finale in this score employ a fanfare motif that could be a parody of Mahler’s second Wayfarer song, “Ging heut’ morgen übers Feld.” Martinu˚ emphasizes the motif ’s jaunty, carefree qualities, spicing them with facile modulations and “wrong note” harmony. The dark, sultry Tango that follows leans more toward a habanera in style. The gruffly repeated opening phrase creates a tension that rises with the addition of a muted trumpet. The same dark timbres and key of the Tango continue in the next movement, but soon give way to a rollicking dance that is as close an imitation of the Charleston as any European composer ever achieved. The Finale quotes this Charleston tune, along with other popular melodies of the day, in a medley that cleverly mimics the rhythms and improvisatory qualities of Dixieland jazz.

© 2014, Luke Howard

La revue de cuisine will be performed again at 92Y this season, during a Family Concert on Sunday, March 29, 2015, at 3 pm, with original choreography by Christopher Caines.

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SCHULHOFF: Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon


Born in Prague, June 8, 1894; died in Weissenburg, August 18, 1942
Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon
Composed in 1927; 15 minutes

The rise of the Nazi regime in the 1930s ended any hopes of an extended musical career for Prague-born composer Erwin Schulhoff. Along with many other aspiring artists, his works were officially branded Entartete Musik or “degenerate music.” This label was intended to suppress music by composers who were Jewish, leftwing, opposed to Nazi ideals or modernist, and Schulhoff fit all four categories. He was arrested in 1941 and sent to the Wulzburg concentration camp where he died the following year. During this tragically abbreviated career, Schulhoff completed about one hundred pieces, including six symphonies, numerous chamber works for strings and several major stage works.

As a ten-year-old, Schulhoff had been allowed to enter the Prague Conservatory on the direct recommendation of Antonín Dvořák. He then continued studies in composition with Max Reger in Leipzig and Claude Debussy in Cologne. He was twice awarded the Felix Mendelssohn scholarship: once in 1913 for piano, and again in 1918 for composition. Schulhoff’s early works blend influences from Strauss, Mahler, Debussy and Scriabin, and he also dabbled in the intentional nonsense of Dada, producing a “silent” work for piano, notated entirely with rests (predating John Cage’s 4’33” by several decades).

During the 1920s, Schulhoff’s music synthesized elements of modernism, Stravinskian neoclassicism and popular musical styles. Although he was a close friend of Alban Berg and studied Schoenberg’s writings intently, he chose not to adopt the twelve-tone technique. Yet Schulhoff never shied away from dissonance, even if it was constructed over triadic harmony.

While serving on the faculty of the Prague Conservatory in 1927, Schulhoff enjoyed an especially prolific year as a composer, producing his Piano Sonata No. 3, two violin sonatas, a flute sonata, a neoclassically inspired Double Concerto for Flute and Piano, the 6 Esquisses de jazz for solo piano, and a Divertissement for oboe, clarinet and bassoon. In this Divertissement, the composer’s fascination with popular styles mixes equally with Hindemith-inspired neoclassicism.

The Ouverture begins in unison but diverts quickly into jolly three-part counterpoint. The descending three-note theme emerges regularly from the fugato texture of this cheerful opening. The Burlesca that follows is more sardonic as it explores a mosaic of individual motifs among the instruments. Sarcastic gestures and overt humor also moderate the “slow movement” seriousness of the Romanzero.

The syncopated fluctuations of the Charleston contrast with the Spanish-flavored homophony of the triple-time Florida (which occasionally evokes a nostalgic Mahler Ländler). These two dances frame a theme with variations and fugato—the longest movement of the suite—in which the theme seems unexpectedly somber and thoughtful. The variations, however, tend to be more spirited. The fugato then returns to the reflective melancholy of the theme.

The Rondino-Finale is a delightfully neoclassical conclusion. With an opening that brings to mind Gershwin’s An American in Paris (penned the following year), it signals the bright influence of vernacular and popular styles on the suite as a whole.

© 2014, Luke Howard

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DVOŘÁK: Quartet for Piano and Strings in E-flat major, Op. 87


Quartet for Piano and Strings in E-flat major, Op. 87
Composed in 1889; 34 minutes

When Bedřich Smetana took over the directorship of Prague’s Provisional Theatre in 1866, the principal violist was Antonín Dvořák. At the time, Dvořák’s ambition was to become a composer, and indeed his early works follow the Smetana model of classical form with passages of a generalized “folkish” flavor. Soon he would explore a somewhat different path, infusing the essence—not just the surface—of Slavic folk traditions into his works. Dvořák’s brand of musical nationalism earned him widespread respect, and he came to be regarded as a kind of “Czech Chopin.”

This nationalist aesthetic is expressed as clearly in Dvořák’s chamber works as in his larger orchestral essays, and perhaps more accurately. While the symphonic orchestra is an invention of the Western art-music tradition, chamber music can more authentically reflect the soloistic figurations, “village band” sound and dance origins of much folk music.

Among his numerous chamber works, Dvořák had written a Piano Quartet in D major in 1875. It was well over a decade later, though, that Simrock, his publisher, finally prevailed upon him to produce a second piano quartet. Dvořák completed the new work quickly in the late summer of 1889. “It came easy,” he later observed, “and the melodies just surged upon me.”

The first movement (Allegro con fuoco) opens with a four-note motif that starts on E-flat but ends unusually on B-natural. On the repeat, the B-natural is replaced with C, but this suggests C-minor as a home key, not E-flat major. The piano further veils the nebulous role of E-flat as a harmonic center until finally a powerful re-invention of the theme places it firmly in the tonic before the introduction of the lyrical second theme (from the viola) in G. Near the end of the development section the violin presents this second theme in B major, which had been forecast by the opening motif’s B-natural. After the recapitulation, the movement closes with a mysterious tremolo coda.

The cello pilots the slow movement (Lento) with a ravishing Schubertian theme in G-flat major, the piano acting as principal accompanist. Soon, though, the reflective mood is disrupted by dramatic descending octaves that introduce a brief, anxious passage in C-sharp minor. Calm is restored before a return to the main theme. Then a second, parallel interruption in tonic minor confirms the five-part rondo form, which closes with a third statement of the peaceful main theme.

The harmony returns to E-flat for an elegant Ländler (Allegro moderato, grazioso). Augmented seconds in the piano lend the secondary melody a somewhat oriental flavor, while its rhythmic figurations mimic the sound of a cimbalom or hammer dulcimer. Tremolos introduce a Bohemian-inspired Trio section in Bmajor, recalling again the unexpected harmonic relationship from the first movement.

The quartet returns to sonata form for the rollicking Finale (Allegro ma non troppo), which opens in E-flat minor and modulates to G-flat major for the second subject. Not until the recapitulation does the movement return to the work’s home key. Then, near the end of the short coda, the tutti ensemble refers directly back to the B-natural and C harmonies suggested in the quartet’s opening motif, bringing the work full circle.

© 2014, Luke Howard

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Artist Bios

Alisa Weilerstein

The first cellist in 30 years to be signed as an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, Alisa Weilerstein recorded the Elgar and Elliott Carter cello concertos with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin for her label debut, which this year was named BBC Music’s “Recording of the Year.” In 2011 the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded her its prestigious “genius” fellowship.

On her celebrated second Decca release, Weilerstein plays Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, which she reprises with the New York Philharmonic and Christoph von Dohnányi this weekend for Dvořák//Dohnányi: A Philharmonic Festival. She made her 92Y debut at the Spring Gala in 2001. Upcoming orchestral highlights also include Elgar with the Cleveland Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and the Dallas, Milwaukee, Stuttgart and Tokyo’s NHK symphonies. She performs Haydn on a German tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra; and Shostakovich with England’s Halle Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall.

In recitals in Boston, Aspen, San Francisco and London’s Wigmore Hall, she showcases repertoire from Solo, her new Decca compilation of unaccompanied 20th-century cello music. The album’s centerpiece is Kodaly’s Sonata, a signature work that she also performs on the soundtrack of If I Stay, a 2014 feature film in which she makes a cameo appearance as herself. Her website is

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Inon Barnatan

Pianist Inon Barnatan is the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural Artist-in-Association, a position created to highlight emerging artists. Mr. Barnatan will make his Philharmonic subscription debut in March 2015, performing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with music director Alan Gilbert, and he will join Philharmonic musicians for Dvořák’s Piano Quintet, Op. 81, in February 2015.

A native of Tel Aviv, Mr. Barnatan has been a welcome guest at 92Ysince 2009, when he participated with members of the Cleveland Orchestra in a Janáček-Kundera celebration. He gave a solo recital in December 2012, and this past October he performed with the Jerusalem String Quartet in its Intimate Brahms series. Mr. Barnatan’s other engagements this fall have included a recital at Chicago’s Harris Theater and his debut with the Orchestre symphonique de Quebec. Future highlights include concerts with the Los Angeles and Royal Stockholm philharmonics, a debut at the International Chopin Festival in Warsaw, and a US tour in the spring with Alisa Weilerstein, his frequent recital partner.

Awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Mr. Barnatan is hailed as a Schubertian of the first rank. His latest CD, released in September 2013 by Avie, features Schubert’s late piano sonatas, and he made his recording debut in 2006 with an all-Schubert disc for Bridge Records. Mr. Barnatan’s second release, Darknesse Visible, was named one of the “Best of 2012” by The New York Times. His website is

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Sheryl Staples, violin

Violinist Sheryl Staples joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Associate Concertmaster, The Elizabeth G. Beinecke Chair, in September 1998 and currently serves as Acting Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair. She made her solo debut with the Orchestra in 1999 and has been featured with the Philharmonic as soloist in concertos by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn, Bach and Vivaldi with conductors including Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur and Sir Colin Davis. Last month she performed Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante with Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, led by Jaap van Zweden.

Previously, Ms. Staples was the associate concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra and concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony and Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with more than 40 orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Ms. Staples has participated in the La Jolla, Boston, Salt Bay, Santa Fe, Mainly Mozart and Aspen chamber music festivals. She was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio, and she frequently performs in the New York area in venues including Avery Fisher Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, 92Y and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ms. Staples is on the faculty of The Juilliard School, where she works with students who aspire to orchestral careers. She performs on the “Kartman” Guarnerius del Gesu, c. 1728.

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Michelle Kim, violin

Violinist Michelle Kim has been Assistant Concertmaster, The William Petschek Family Chair, of the New York Philharmonic since 2001; she currently serves as Acting Principal Associate Concertmaster, The Elizabeth G. Beinecke Chair. She has performed as a soloist with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Philharmonic, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and Pacific Symphony.

An active chamber musician, Ms. Kim has collaborated with violinists Cho Liang Lin, Christian Tetzlaff and Pinchas Zukerman; cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Lynn Harrell and Gary Hoffman; and pianists Lang Lang and Yefim Bronfman. She has performed at various festivals including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, Strings in the Mountain and Bravo! Vail. Ms. Kim has also served as the first violinist of the Rossetti String Quartet, and she was a Sterne Virtuoso Artist at Skidmore College in 2007–2008.

A student of Robert Lipsett and a former Presidential Scholar, Ms. Kim attended the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music as a Starling Foundation scholarship recipient, and considers Heiichiro Ohyama and Henry Gronnier to be her mentors. She has been a member of the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music, the Colburn School and the University of California at Santa Barbara. She currently teaches at the Mannes College of Music.

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Cynthia Phelps, viola

Cynthia Phelps is the New York Philharmonic’s Principal Viola, The Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose Chair. Highlights of her solo appearances with the Orchestra have included performances on the 2006 Tour of Italy, sponsored by Generali; performances of Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in 2010 and 2014; and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths in 2011, which the Orchestra commissioned for her and Philharmonic Associate Principal Viola Rebecca Young and which was premiered in 1999.

Other solo engagements for Ms. Phelps have included the Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao and Hong Kong Philharmonic. She performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Jupiter Chamber Players, and the festivals of Santa Fe, La Jolla, Seattle, Chamber Music Northwest and Bridgehampton. She has appeared with the Guarneri, Tokyo, Orion, American, Brentano and Prague string quartets, and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. She has given recitals in the major music capitals of Europe and the US; her honors include First Prize in both the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the Washington National Competition.

Winner of the Pro Musicis International Award, Ms. Phelps’s most recent recording, Air, for flute, harp and viola, was nominated for a Grammy Award. She has performed as soloist on Live From Lincoln Center, American Public Media’s Saint Paul Sunday Morning, Radio France and RAI in Italy.

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Sherry Sylar, oboe

Associate Principal Oboe Sherry Sylar joined the New York Philharmonic in 1984, having performed with The Louisville Orchestra and having taught at the University of Evansville in Indiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music at Indiana University and her master’s from Northwestern University.

Ms. Sylar performs chamber music regularly, including at Merkin Concert Hall and 92Y. She was among the select group of Philharmonic musicians who joined the orchestra that Leonard Bernstein conducted in the historic Freedom Concert at the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In 2001 the Boston Symphony invited her to be solo principal oboe in tour performances led by Bernard Haitink, which concluded with a concert at Carnegie Hall. She substituted for an ailing principal oboist for the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France’s Carnegie Hall debut, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung.

Ms. Sylar’s most recent solo performance with the New York Philharmonic was in J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in November 2008. Also the oboe d’amore player for the New York Philharmonic, her featured solos on that instrument during the Orchestra’s Bach festival in March 2013 were praised in The New York Times. Ms. Sylar gives master classes internationally and has participated in the Aspen and Grand Teton music festivals; she is on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music.

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Anthony McGill, clarinet

Anthony McGill joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Clarinet, The Edna and W. Van Alan Clark Chair, in September 2014. Previously principal clarinet of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2004, he has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall with orchestras including the MET Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra and the New York String Orchestra. He has also recently performed with the Baltimore, New Jersey, San Diego and Memphis symphonies and Orchestra 2001.

As a chamber musician Mr. McGill has performed with quartets including the Guarneri, Tokyo, Brentano, Pacifica, Shanghai, Miro and Daedalus. He has also appeared with Musicians from Marlboro and at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the University of Chicago Presents. His festival appearances have included Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, Music@Menlo and Santa Fe Chamber Music. He has collaborated with pianists Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida and Lang Lang, as well as violinists Gil Shaham and Midori.

Mr. McGill performed with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma and Gabriela Montero at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Bard College Conservatory of Music and Manhattan School of Music. His website is

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Judith LeClair, bassoon

Judith LeClair joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Bassoon, The Pels Family Chair, in 1981 at the age of 23, and she has since made more than 50 solo appearances with the Orchestra, most recently in January 2013, performing Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto, led by Andrey Boreyko. Previously, she was principal bassoon of the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera.

Active as a chamber musician, Ms. LeClair has performed with leading artists and participated in festivals around the country. Every August she gives a solo recital and weeklong master class at the Hidden Valley Music Seminar in Carmel Valley, California. She has performed with the Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet of New York, formed in 2001, giving recitals throughout the country and on the Philharmonic’s tours.

In April 1995 Ms. LeClair premiered The Five Sacred Trees, a concerto written for her by John Williams and commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as part of its 150th Anniversary celebration. She reprised the concerto with the San Francisco Symphony, London’s Royal Academy Orchestra and the London Symphony. Her recording of this last performance and her solo New York Legends CD for Cala Records were released in 1997. Ms. LeClair made her professional debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age 15. She is on the faculty of The Juilliard School, and she joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in fall 2014.

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Matthew Muckey, trumpet

Matthew Muckey joined the New York Philharmonic as Associate Principal Trumpet in June 2006, after graduating from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in music. He studied with Charles Geyer and Barbara Butler, and he currently serves as Acting Principal Trumpet, The Paula Levin Chair.

A native of Sacramento, California, Mr. Muckey has appeared as soloist with the Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, California Wind Orchestra and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and he has been heard on the NPR program From the Top. He has also played with the Boston Pops Orchestra, New World Symphony and Chicago Civic Orchestra.

Mr. Muckey was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center during the summers of 2003 through 2005, and he was the recipient of the Roger Voisin Award in 2004 and 2005. He is a member of the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet.

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